But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predetermined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,
Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Cor 2:7-10
Who among us doesn’t want to be wise?
Have you ever stopped and considered what wisdom actually is? Try for a moment to describe wisdom, without using the word ‘wisdom.’
The Christian Bible has a lot to say about wisdom. In the Old Testament wisdom in Hebrew is ‘חכמה’ or ‘chokhmah’.
Wisdom is related to having excellency in skill. It’s about more than just acquired knowledge though. It’s related to the ethical and prudent means of using such knowledge.
It’s displayed in a variety of functions such as strategy (war), administration and counsel. It’s personified in Proverbs as a lady. We’re encouraged to seek her, find her, build our life upon her precepts.
Wisdom, we’re told, is inestimable in value and begins by fearing God.
For the Jewish people, wisdom was all about understanding and obeying the Law.
‘See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples…’ Deut 4:5-6
Fast forward to the time of Christ in the New Testament and we find the Greek word for wisdom ‘σοφία’ or ‘sophia’. One of my favorite definitions of Sophia would be this:
‘Wisdom is the ability to form the best plans and use the best means for their execution. It’s the body of knowledge developed through experience over a period of time.’
It’s similar to the Hebrew understanding, in that ‘wisdom’ is all about the execution of knowledge, not just the acquiring of it. What one ‘does’ with knowledge is where the DNA of real wisdom lies.
Concerning wisdom, we’re told something astounding by the Apostle Paul on a few occasions. This is where it gets really interesting, and my brain starts to hurt, but heart rejoices!
‘But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.’ 1 Cor 1:30
Jesus is the Wisdom from God for all that believe. It’s by His eternal plan, perfectly executed and revealed in Christ crucified.
‘..that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.‘ Col 2:2-3
God’s ultimate unveiling of His wisdom is in the Person of Christ and plan of redemption.
Sure, general wisdom is not exclusively connected to Jesus – we need to apply knowledge ‘wisely’ in all manner of life experiences, and thankfully we get to ask for it from God if we lack it (James 1:5), from His inherent Word, from the multitude of counsel.
However, God’s wisdom to reveal Himself, in the manner in which He revealed Himself, is not to be trifled with.
God alone gets to define what He’s like and He does this perfectly in Christ.
Jesus is the perfect, exact, radiant image of God (Heb 1:3, Col 1:15). He came not only to suffer on a tree for the sins of man, but to explain what God is really like (John 1:18). While the Old Testament reveals perfectly through the law the sinful heart of men, and aspects of God through many prophets and covenants, nothing comes close to the Son of Man on display.
Jesus is the HD image, obliterating misconceptions of God and bringing to light His nature in stunning 4K. We can’t go back to black & white, besides, who would want to?
When we begin to define God with sources other than Christ, we’re being unwise. Our theology will inevitably influence how we see, and interact with God Himself. His likes, dislikes, what He ultimately values, and what grieves Him, all flow from the construct of ideas about God. Too often, I hear unwise ideas and characteristics about God, both from believers and unbelievers.
When confronted with concepts of God in conflict with His nature in Christ, Christ wins.
Everything before Christ was leading to His perfect revelation. Everyone who believes after Calvary, benefits from the predetermined riches in Him (Eph 1:3-4). He was there at the beginning, creating all things (Col 1:16, John 1:3), and He’ll be there at the end (John 14:3).
Jesus was God in the flesh. He was, and is, and will be. He is wisdom personified, because He was God. God, is perfect, Holy, and all wise! (1 Tim 1:17, Jude 1:25).
Are we building our lives on wisdom?
Rather, are we allowing the wisdom of God in Christ to form our view of God that we may relate to Him rightly?
Are we wise builders?
Do we allow His incarnation to be preeminent in shaping our views of God? Are we approaching God with foreign concepts of His Character that undermine the revelation in Jesus?
Scripture says God’s wisdom is NOT in accordance with the wisdom of this fallen world (Col 2:4-9, 1 Cor 1:17-30), and therefor looks foolish to the world.
The same can be said with humanities fallen understanding of attributes like power and weakness. For example, the weapon of God’s Kingdom is love (Mark 12:30-31). To be great in His kingdom, be the best servant (Matt 20:26).
We shouldn’t think it strange that God’s wisdom catches us all off-guard in like manner. This world is fallen, and values the wrong things (1 John 2:16). We think God must be like Zeus, or some cosmic super hero. He is better than that, much better.
God’s intended epitaph on wisdom is revealed in a crucified, risen Savior. Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe (Rom 10:4). He is our wisdom now, where we find the ultimate treasury of mercy in a Person, a God who came in embodied love. (Rom 5:8, 1 John 4:8).
I like this quote,
‘The gospel alone is a scheme which the wisdom of God alone could devise, and which his power and infinite mercy alone could accomplish.’
Jeremiah the prophet declares, “This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
If we want wisdom, we are most wise to survey the Cross. In it God’s wisdom is revealed, obliterating our human sensibilities, expanding constructs of thought to unending depths.
What our fallen human nature deems ‘wise’ is purged against the backdrop of ultimate love & sacrifice. Jesus has become for us wisdom, unveiling a treasury of knowledge soliciting a happy surrender in the fear of the Lord.
Salvation made available to all who believe through Christ! Salvation free, and abounding from the wells of mercy in the heart of God! Salvation intended to send a hopeless world to heights of worship and adoration – as we see the crucified Savior, the character of God in wisdom, on display!
God is a sacrificing, risk taking, lover of fallen humility. He grieves (Matt 26:38), He is moved by faith (Matt 8:10), He intercedes for us (Rom 8;34), and beckons us to come through the proclamation of the good news (Matt 11:28).
Allow the all-wise risen Savior to shape our view of the Father. He deserves nothing less, and it will be wisdom to you!
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isa 61:10
In that day you will sing:
“I will praise you, O Lord!
You were angry with me, but not any more.
Now you comfort me.
2 See, God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.”
3 With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
4 In that wonderful day you will sing:
“Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
Let them know how mighty he is! Isa 12:1-4